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Conservative to Get Top Drug Post

April 21, 2001|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Bush plans to name a conservative known for his tough approach on drugs to head the White House drug policy office, sources said Friday.

John P. Walters is undergoing final background checks and could be named next week to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy, sources familiar with the nomination said.

Walters had been the office's deputy director for supply reduction when it was headed by William J. Bennett under President George Bush. Walters confirmed that he had had discussions with the administration but said no more.

The office has been without a permanent director since Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey resigned in January.

Walters has stressed the importance of criminal penalties for drug users and opposed the use of marijuana for medical purposes. He has also favored the drug certification program, in which nations are judged by their anti-drug efforts. The program has been a sore point in U.S.-Mexican relations.

Walters' positions have put him at odds with treatment advocates who view drug abuse as more of a health problem.

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